Letter: AUMA supports provincial government’s education tax relief

Alberta’s municipalities and AUMA support the provincial government’s recent announcement of fiscal relief for residents and businesses of Alberta. The changes to the 2020 education tax requisition, which municipalities collect on behalf of the province, will relieve pressure on Albertans during this uncertain time.

Education property tax freeze

AUMA is pleased that the province has decided to cancel the increase to its education property tax requisition, which was announced in the 2020 Budget. This increased tax burden would have fallen on Alberta’s residential property taxpayers and our already-suffering businesses. AUMA strongly advocated for the reversal of this increase, and we are grateful that the provincial government responded in this way.

Education property tax deferral

We also applaud the province for deferring its education property tax for businesses.

In addition, AUMA wishes to collaborate with the provincial government to enable municipalities to provide deferrals for the municipal portion of the property tax. Municipalities need flexibility so they can implement and set property tax payment deferrals in a manner that reflects their local circumstances.

We must emphasize that municipalities will have limited ability to defer property tax, as their cashflows are already strained. In order to be able to offer significant property tax deferrals for businesses, municipalities will require financial assistance from:

senior orders of government, who can provide no-interest operating loans; and
the provincial government, who can amend the Municipal Government Act to provide municipalities higher limits on operational borrowing.

We have reached out to the Government of Alberta to work out the details of how municipalities can be full partners in supporting economic recovery and growth.

Businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers in our communities are under a tremendous amount of stress, and Albertans rely on municipalities’ critical services, now more than ever. As Premier Kenney has mentioned, we are facing a period of profound adversity. Municipalities share the same ambition as the provincial government for a strong and prosperous Alberta, and we look forward to sharing in brighter times ahead once we have weathered this time of uncertainty.

AUMA President
Barry Morishita

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